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Healthy Dog: The Raw Dog Diet, Food Allergies And Vitamins

It seems that Mother Nature came up with the rule that what comes in must come out and your dog is no different. If your dog’s food contains a lot of fiber, you will know. Their waste will be runny and large. Depending on certain foods your dog eats, the smell can vary from a little to a “oh my god what did you eat” smell that stays with you for a few minutes.

  • Watch what you feed your dog, and make sure they are on a balanced diet.
  • Keep your dog on a good feeding schedule.
  • avoid table scraps.

The Raw Dog Diet
Swiss shepherd eating raw meat

For as long as dog food as been around,  some dog owners are getting very concerned about the dog food they are buying for their dogs after all of the recalls that have been issued this past year alone. Unfortunately the food you feed your dog today, could be the newest recall tomorrow and for some pet owners that is not a risk they are willing to take.

If you look on the internet or join a dog lovers chat room you will find that a new diet is starting to become bigger and bigger and this is the raw food diet. The raw diet is not a new trend, though many pet owners think it is. This diet is basically mimicking what your dog would eat if he were out in the wild.

Some people have even called it the BARF diet. BARF stands for Biologically Appropriate Raw Foods and also for Bones and Raw Food Diet.

Never, under any circumstances give you dog cooked bones. They can splinter and cause internal damage. Also, people have stated that it might be easier for your dog if you switch the food from kibble to BARF without any transition as long as you start simple.

So what does the diet entail? Just a meal made up of meat, and veggies. Half of your dogs meal will be the meat:

  • Start off with just meat for a few days when you are switching your dog.
  • Once your dog has settled you can start adding some bland veggies such as carrots.
  • It can be easier for your dog to eat his veggies if you use a blender and and mix the meat into it.

Want to read a more In-depth guide to dog nutrition? Say no more, here is what you are looking for: Dog food for puppies: Why is it so important to get the best food for dogs

What Veggies are good?
French Bulldog eating cucumber

  • Carrots for the potassium, calcium and vitamins that it offers.
  • Add green veggies one day with carrots because green has vitamins A and C in it.
  • Watercress and mustard greens can help clean out your dog’s intestine.
  • Stay away from broccoli and cabbage as they can increase gas in your dog.
  • Stay away from onions and potatoes.
  • You can give some oils such as fish oil or flaxseed because they contain essential fatty acids such as omega-3.

So what are the benefits of having your dog on a raw food diet?

  • Big change in their breath. The raw dog diet does not contain any unnatural preservatives that can cause bad breath.
  • You will notice a difference in their teeth also because chewing on the raw meat bones clean your dog’s teeth naturally.
  • Skin problems will disappear and you will see a change in their coat.  Their coat could become deeply colored and thick.
  • The raw dog diet also improves the immune system due to a great balance of fatty acids and pure nutrients. This is also an excellent diet for dogs that are overweight.
  • The first few weeks it is not uncommon for your dog to go through a detox period, where you might see their stools being a little more mucus than before. However once they get through this detox period you will notice that your dogs stools are smaller and degrade into the ground.

How do you handle raw food for your dog?

  • You should make sure you defrost it properly and keep it in the fridge for the appropriate time.
  • Clean all utensils and surfaces that you used to prepare the food.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly while handling the meat.

The raw food diet is not for everyone nor is it for every dog. Some dogs will thrive on it, while others do not. It may not be the answer for you or your dog, but the benefits that come from it are worth a try and there really is no harm in it.

Can Your Dog’s Diet Cause Allergies?
Dog scratching back, dog giving massage

In a one word answer…yes. Yes your dogs diet can cause allergies. The thing to keep in mind though is that dogs do not have the same allergy symptoms as we do. They do not get stuffy noses, bad coughs or water eyes. Dogs react to allergies with skin problems such as itching, chewing, and their coat taking on a poor quality. Some dogs even suffer from chronic ear infections as a result of allergies.

While allergies can be caused by many things, we are going to discuss the food allergies that some dogs seem prone to. Food allergies do not come to surface as fast as they would with us. In fact you could be feeding your dog the same dog food for years and see that just recently they started having allergies symptoms. nce the symptom comes to surface though, that is it. Food allergies usually show themselves with itchy skin, anal itching, ear inflammation, and rubbing their face on the carpet.

Keep in mind that dogs are not allergic to brands of dog food, but rather the ingredients that are in your dog’s food. The most common food allergies are beef, pork, chicken, milk, soy and corn along with a few others. If you buys a brand of dog food with one of these ingredients, and find your dog is allergic, and then you buy another brand with the same ingredients you are going to find your dog is still allergic. Here is yet another reason why it is so important to read the labels of your dog food!

Is Your Dog Allergic To Something?
Dog being checked at the vet

The first step to figuring out if it is your dog’s food that is causing your dog to suffer, take away your dogs food and feed them only a diet that consists of things that your dog has never eaten before. This should be protein and starch. You can try lamb or rabbit mixed with rice. Do not give them anything else during this trial period. Do not give them any treats, bones, table scraps or even chew toys. Keep them on this diet for a few days.

Once the symptoms start to improve, go back to the original food for a few days and make a note of what you were given your dog. You know now they are not allergic to it. If they symptoms return, your dog is allergic to something in the food. The next thing to do is to return to the test diet and add one new ingredient a week to rule out allergies.

For example try chicken one week and if the symptoms get better, you know it is not chicken.   The next week try beef and if the symptoms return then it is safe to say your dog is allergic to beef. Try this though with all ingredients because your dog could be allergic to a number of ingredients in their food.

Perhaps your dog problems have nothing to do with allergies but with weight, we all love those little cute chubby puppies but we still need to think on their health first, so take a look at this: Best Diet For Dogs And What To Do When You Have A Fat Puppy


Once You Know What Is Causing Your Dog Its Allergies
Dog babysitting little girl

Once you find out the culprit or culprits, you can look for food that does not contain the ingredients you know your dog is allergic too. One of the best choices with brand dog foods is food that is made with lamb and rice. Both lamb and rice are considered hypoallergenic as long as it does not consider wheat, or corn. Corn is not digestible to dogs.

If you are feeding your dog the Raw Dog Diet, you would still follow the same steps to find out what they are allergic to and then just cut out the offending ingredients from their diet. I know this sounds like a lot and time consuming. It can take a while to discover to cause of your dogs allergies. But in the end it is worth it for your dog and you will end a lot of their distress.

You can always take your dog to the vet for an allergy diagnosis. They will perform a series of physical examinations and tests to determine what your dog is allergic to. While this is a quicker way to get to the bottom of the mystery, it can also be a costly one plus studies have shown that blood tests do not always show food allergies. The food trial diet is the best way.

Another thing to keep in mind is that no matter what the cost of your dog food, your dog could still develop allergies to it. Granted there are more reports of the cheaper brand food causing more allergies because of the fillers that might be included in those brands, but your dog has just as much of a chance of being allergic to the premium dog food as it does with the cheaper brand food. Dogs also do not grow out of allergies.

If you notice your dog suddenly itching a lot, or chewing at their skin first check for fleas and if you find none, they more than likely have food allergies and you should begin the food test diet right away.

Should You Give Your Dog Vitamins?
Handsome healthy dog on leash

Yes you should, but they do not have to be the way you think. Usually you will get extra vitamins for your dog at their first puppy visit. There are many reasons why your dog should get vitamins and why they might need extra vitamins. All dogs have different nutritional requirements and not all dog food.

There are many reasons to give your dog vitamins range from the fact that all dogs have different nutritional requirements to your dogs food not having enough. Even if your dog is on the raw food diet, they still might need additional nutrients depending on their breed sometimes. Older dogs especially need vitamin supplements because they are not eating as much food as they used to and could be lacking certain nutrients.

So what kind of vitamins do dogs need? Well, it helps to know what each vitamin is for:

  • Vitamin A is for the skin – This might help prevent flaky skin and irritable skin in your dogs.
  • Vitamin D is for your dog’s bone and teeth – Breeds like golden retrievers who are very susceptible to arthritis and hip problems will probably benefit greatly from taking a supplement of vitamin d.
  • Vitamin E is an antioxidant vitamin
  • Vitamin K is the blood clotting vitamin. 
  • You also have vitamin B which is for healthy muscles, skin and blood.
  • And then vitamin C which is a vitamin for stress and antioxidant.

Remember parasites and worms are a real matter to be taken seriously. We have a special section dedicated to this topic so you can get the key notes on this area, and make the best decisions for you best buddy’s health and welfare

Does Quality Pet Food Has All The Vitamins Your Dog Needs?
Dog being checked at the vet

Some people will argue that a good quality pet food will contain all the vitamins and nutrients your dog needs. Others will tell you that is simply not true. The cooking process that some of the pre made dog foods go through might kill essential nutrients that are needed. While most pet foods will contain the “average” amount of recommended vitamins, they do not provide additional vitamins for protection against diseases.

Vitamins help regulate your dog’s metabolism. Vitamins fall into two categories.:

  • One is water soluble (vitamin B and C) which have to be replenished every day.
  •  Vitamins A, D, E and K are what’s known as fat soluble vitamins. They are stored in fatty tissue and the liver and do not need to be replenished daily.

Also included in these supplements are minerals. Minerals keep our dogs body fluids balanced. Your dog needs minerals like calcium, magnesium, sodium (just a little) and potassium just like we do. You need to be careful though with minerals because they can affect each other if too much is taken.

When we talk about vitamins we do not just mean the pills that you can get from your vet. We are also talking about adding certain foods to their diets to make sure they are getting enough vitamins. If you are following the raw food diet, you want to make sure your dog gets a variety of vegetables to keep their vitamin intakes up.

Does Your Pet Is Lacking Vitamins?
French Bulldog posing for the camera

If you are not giving your dog a vitamin or supplement, take a good long hard look at him:

  • If you see he is losing weight, has skin lesions, or losing his fur he might have a vitamin A deficiency.
  • Vitamin D deficiency is apparent when your dog loses some of his muscle tone.
  • If you notice your dog might have a vitamin deficiency, talk to your vet to find out for sure. Your vet will either suggest that your dog begins to take the necessary vitamin or for you to change his food.

Most of the time vitamins deficiencies are more common in packaged dog food that you can get from your local supermarket. This is why it is important to read the labels on the dog food you buys if that is your feeding method. You want to make sure it contains all the vitamins your dog needs. If it does not, and you do not feel comfortable going to the raw food diet, talk to your vet about giving your dog vitamin supplements to keep him healthy.

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